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According to the Rules of the Senate (VI.4) (emphasis mine):

Whenever upon such roll call it shall be ascertained that a quorum is not present, a majority of the Senators present may direct the Sergeant at Arms to request, and, when necessary, to compel the attendance of the absent Senators, which order shall be determined without debate; and pending its execution, and until a quorum shall be present, no debate nor motion, except to adjourn, or to recess pursuant to a previous order entered by unanimous consent, shall be in order.

According to the passage above, the Sergeant at Arms may by authorized by attending senators to “compel” an absent senator to attend a Senate session. What sort of means is the Sergeant at Arms allowed to use to effectuate this compulsion?

  • Is the Sergeant at Arms allowed to threaten absent members with weapons (e.g. attend or I'll shoot/stab/spork you)?
  • Is the Sergeant at Arms allowed to personally and physically restrain and transport absent senators, e.g. with handcuffs or cages?
  • Is the Sergeant at Arms allowed to direct or order local law enforcement to perform an arrest (e.g., “Officer, please arrest Senator Hookey, escort him to DC, and chain him to Desk 5.”)?
  • Is the Sergeant at Arms allowed to issue monetary fines, seize property, etc. (e.g. “You'd better be here tomorrow morning or I'm towing your car and bulldozing your house.”)?
  • Is the Sergeant at Arms limited to moral persuasion (e.g. “Showing up is the right thing to do, your country needs you, what would your mother say if she found out you were at the bar instead of attending Senate proceedings?”?

Are the rules defined anywhere? Where are they defined? In statute? In case law? Elsewhere in the Rules of the Senate? Are the rules unwritten tradition?

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